Turning Around in Roseville

Every business trip creates an opportunity for a new scenic run. Unfortunately, an early sunset and a mild chest cold mean I plan on staying indoors on this trip to Roseville (that’s near Sacramento, California).

Now, I’m back at the hotel just before 4PM because the client ended the day early. There is still an hour of daylight left and I’m preparing to throw my indoor plans away.  I can’t fathom answering email and watching stale TV shows for the remainder of the day when the glorious outdoors awaits.

The Front Desk directs me to a running/bike path about 400 yards from the hotel.  Once I locate the entrance, I’m not disappointed.  The long path is paved, runs along a stream, and lined with trees.  Clearly, this is a favorite path for both runners and riders.

I put in my earbuds, turn Pandora to Christmas music, and begin walking.   In the glowing late afternoon sun, I should be reveling in the beauty and thinking Christmas thoughts.  Instead, my eyes drift downward to the asphalt as I begin to cough.

The coughing reminds me of the my frail human condition (or cold) and pulls me away from the path and into a prison of self-pity.

  • I wish I wasn’t sick.
  • I wish I could run.
  • Walking isn’t a real exercise.
  • Maybe I should have stayed inside.

The voice of disappointment quickly drowns out the harking of angels singing from iPhone.

After 2 miles of self-loathing,  I stop.  It’s time to turn around before it gets too dark.

The simple act of reversing direction does something unexpected in my soul.  As I turn, I reconsider my surroundings.  I see the creek again.   The change in light shows makes the old trees new.  I can hear the Christmas music again. I am pulled back from self-pity and reinserted into the forest.

What caused the change?  Is it the simple act of turning around?  Did I “will” myself out of prison?  Or, did the angels sing just loud enough to get my attention?  I don’t really know what happened.  But, I do know that my perspective has changed.  I can see the glorious outdoors again, and I’m not disappointed.

The definition of “repentance” means to change one’s mind or, literally, turn around.


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